© 2009 HARDING & YORKE 19 now - training. ' When I was about 15, I must have lightly blasphemed - said " oh God!" or something - and she took me to one side and said: " That offends some people. You need to be thinking about what you say and who you say it to". She made me think about what I did and the effect it might have on somebody else.' This has served Caroline well, for she always finds a truly personalised way of training people. ' I don't like telling people what to do. Everyone has an opinion and my approach is more food for thought. I'd rather I got people thinking rather than saying " this is how it is"! It should come as no surprise that Caroline is a spiritual person. ' I am and I think we need to be aware of our own egos and how they can get in the way of our happiness,' Caroline says. ' When you look at conflict, it's always down to ego. It's a failure to empathise. And that goes back to that Guide Captain who got me to think about things from the perspective of others.' Revealing that her caring side really does run deep, she tried to follow a career in nursing but was too young, so studied for a private secretary's diploma. ' When I finished I decided to consolidate my skills by working in a private bank in Fleet Street.' She actually did apply to become a nurse, but before she could start her training she fell in love. ' He was 14 years older than me. We got married and bought a house. We had a mortgage and so I couldn't afford to do what I really wanted to do, which was a shame.' Caroline's first child, Katie, was born in 1986. ' I was very lucky with Katie,' Caroline explains. ' I took five years off!' Her husband owned a greengrocer in Chorleywood and Caroline helped with the accounts. ' I actually learned a lot about retail, too,' she says. Her first son, Elliott, was born in 1991 ' I needed to earn some money, but I still wanted to give Elliott as much time as I had given Katie.' The solution? Ever practical and resourceful, Caroline became a childminder for three years - another indication of her caring, guiding personality. The move into customer service came about in 1994, a few years before her third child Joseph was born. ' I saw an advert in the local paper for people to work as mystery shoppers,' Caroline says. ' I really did start off on the bottom rung - listening to thousands and thousands of telephone calls; getting a feel for what sounded good and what didn't.' This experience was to stand her in good stead when her ' big break' came. Caroline was managing accounts for Qualtrack ( the same company that Nickie Hawton had worked at - see YOUR EMPATHY PROPHET T issue 1 for her interview). The company went through a rough time and shed a lot of staff. ' Nickie had too much work so some of it was passed to me. I was really hungry to learn and I desperately wanted to get into that role,' Caroline says. Later, she moved to be Manager at a Call Centre. ' After three months I had turned the results around!' Caroline was duly promoted to Customer Services Director. ' It actually got to a point where I had developed my nine managers to such a level I was getting into work and wondering what I was going to do today! So I went to see my boss and asked if they would make my role redundant.' That's when Caroline moved to Harding & Yorke. And became senior consultant. ' I have been really lucky,' she says. ' I had the time to enjoy my children when they were little without having to think about career moves. When I did come back to work, it was with enormous energy and enthusiasm!' It is obvious that this enthusiasm isn't going to burn out any time soon. Anyone who comes into contact with Caroline will come away from the experience having learned something or - as Caroline might prefer - having been made to think by someone who truly is a guiding light. THE LINKS Cath Cartridge Nickie Hawton John Walsh Caroline Hardwicke ? Contact Caroline: + 44 ( 0) 7979 632 761 CarolineH@ empathy. co. uk
YOUR EMPATHY PROPHET T - ISSUE 3/ FEBRUARY 2009 STORYTIME 20 This is a true account of how a group of managers of a well- known regional newspaper publisher in the Northeast of England were asked to firstly describe their Monday morning meetings and then write a story about how they would like the meetings to take place. Over the past decade I have met many people who promote storytelling and most have done their best to overcomplicate and frighten people from using it to its best advantage. We are all storytellers - it is what we, as humans, do to communicate. The most influential meeting I had on the subject on storytelling was with a great friend and frequent recharger of my batteries - Nigel Barlow. Nigel runs a company called Service Legends Limited ( based in Oxford) and he is one of the most inspirational people I have had the privilege to meet. What I learnt from Nigel was both simple and effective. Apologies for the language in places but this is expressed in their own words. THE UGLY DUCKLING: WHY WE HATE MONDAYS Most people arrive at the office between 8am and 9am, stepping over the pigeon shit at the entrance and braving what passes for wit ( most people would call it abuse) from Ron on the door. The lifts aren't working ( again), so it's a shattered team that gets together for the Monday morning briefing on the 4th floor. At least, most of us get together as Arthur and Sally are late ( again) and Steve B ( the Managing Director) leaves a message that there's a crisis with the Group Director ( again). He says we should get on with it and he'll try to be there for the ' action summary'! THE POWER OF CHANGE THROUGH STORYTELLING THE UGLY DUCKLING PRINCIPLE Storytelling is - essentially - the method used by humans to communicate. JAMIE LYWOOD relates an example that shows how storytelling can be used as a powerful problem- solving tool.